Research exploring the benefits of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has demonstrated tremendous potential as a regenerative therapy option for the musculoskeletal system. Research into these cell-based regenerative therapies is promising, and they must continue to provide the data necessary to show their therapeutic potential in clinical settings. 

In this review, Steinert et al. review and summarize some of the promising and unique therapeutic features of adult MSCs, detail their current state of clinical application as a regenerative musculoskeletal therapy, and describe the potential for future developments in this field.

Specifically, as a part of this review, the authors share the status of 31 clinical cell therapies for musculoskeletal regeneration occurring between 1996 through 2011 and specifically covering bone defects and nonunions, avascular necrosis of the hip, cysts and benign tumors of the bone, cartilage lesions, and tendons and ligaments; results for the majority demonstrate the safety of and/or the efficacy associated with the specific method of cell-delivery being evaluated.

The field of regenerative orthopedics points to the large body of MSC clinical research indicating the successful treatment of myocardial infarction, post-stroke or spinal cord injury nerve regeneration, graft versus host disease, and a variety of other conditions as an indication that the application has tremendous potential as a regenerative therapeutic option in a wide variety of musculoskeletal indications.

Although there appears to be evidence demonstrating the paracrine and trophic functions of MSCs, research explaining the specifically demonstrated therapeutic effects is still being determined. The authors highlight that research continues to explore the reasonable therapeutic expectations associated with MSC-based treatments, an essential step required to fully understand the range of healing associated with musculoskeletal regenerative cell-based therapy.

The authors, in concluding this review, point out that the demand for MSC-based musculoskeletal regenerative therapies continues to increase. Steinert et al. call for further study into the specific combination of cell preparation, bioactive factors, and stimuli for each specific MSC therapeutic application. Once these have been demonstrated for each application and should they demonstrate better or improved outcomes compared to standard treatments, only then can they be considered for long-term clinical application.

Source:  (n.d.). Concise review: the clinical application of mesenchymal stem cells …. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23197783/

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